2 Samuel 11; 2 Samuel 12; 2 Samuel 13

1 It was spring. It was the time when kings go off to war. So David sent Joab out with the king's special troops and the whole army of Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites. They went to the city of Rabbah. They surrounded it and got ready to attack it. But David remained in Jerusalem. 2 One evening David got up from his bed. He walked around on the roof of his palace. From the roof he saw a woman taking a bath. She was very beautiful. 3 David sent a messenger to find out who she was. The messenger returned and said, "She is Bathsheba. She's the daughter of Eliam. She's the wife of Uriah. He's a Hittite." 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him. And he had sex with her. Then she went back home. All of that took place after she had already made herself "clean" from her monthly period. 5 Later, Bathsheba found out she was pregnant. She sent a message to David. It said, "I'm pregnant." 6 So David sent a message to Joab. It said, "Send me Uriah, the Hittite." Joab sent him to David. 7 Uriah came to David. David asked him how Joab and the soldiers were doing. He also asked him how the war was going. 8 David said to Uriah, "Go home and enjoy some time with your wife." So Uriah left the palace. Then the king sent him a gift. 9 But Uriah didn't go home. Instead, he slept at the entrance to the palace. He stayed there with all of his master's servants. 10 David was told, "Uriah didn't go home." So he sent for Uriah. He said to him, "You have been away for a long time. Why didn't you go home?" 11 Uriah said to David, "The ark and the army of Israel and Judah are out there in tents. My master Joab and your special troops are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink? How could I go there and make love to my wife? I could never do a thing like that. And that's just as sure as you are alive!" 12 Then David said to him, "Stay here one more day. Tomorrow I'll send you back to the battle." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 David invited Uriah to eat and drink with him. David got him drunk. But Uriah still didn't go home. In the evening he went out and slept on his mat. He stayed there among his master's servants. 14 The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab. He sent it along with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, "Put Uriah on the front lines. That's where the fighting is the heaviest. Then pull your men back from him. When you do, the Ammonites will strike him down and kill him." 16 So Joab attacked the city. He put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest enemy fighters were. 17 The troops came out of the city. They fought against Joab. Some of the men in David's army were killed. Uriah, the Hittite, also died. 18 Joab sent David a full report of the battle. 19 He told the messenger, "Tell the king everything that happened in the battle. When you are finished, 20 his anger might explode. He might ask you, 'Why did you go so close to the city to fight against it? Didn't you know that the enemy soldiers would shoot arrows down from the wall? 21 Don't you remember how Abimelech, the son of Jerub-Besheth, was killed? A woman dropped a large millstone on him from the wall. That's how he died in Thebez. So why did you go so close to the wall?' If the king asks you that, tell him, 'Your servant Uriah, the Hittite, is also dead.' " 22 The messenger started out for Jerusalem. When he arrived there, he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, "The men who were in the city were more powerful than we were. They came out to fight against us in the open. But we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 Then those who were armed with bows shot arrows at us from the wall. Some of your special troops were killed. Your servant Uriah, the Hittite, is also dead." 25 David told the messenger, "Tell Joab, 'Don't get upset over what happened. Swords kill one person as well as another. So keep on attacking the city. Destroy it.' Tell that to Joab. It will cheer him up." 26 Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead. She sobbed over him. 27 When her time of sadness was over, David had her brought to his house. She became his wife. And she had a son by him. But the LORD wasn't pleased with what David had done.
1 The LORD sent the prophet Nathan to David. When Nathan came to him, he said, "Two men lived in the same town. One was rich. The other was poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle. 3 But all the poor man had was one little female lamb. He had bought it. He raised it. It grew up with him and his children. It shared his food. It drank from his cup. It even slept in his arms. It was just like a daughter to him. 4 "One day a traveler came to the rich man. The rich man wanted to prepare a meal for him. But he didn't want to kill one of his own sheep or cattle. Instead, he took the little female lamb that belonged to the poor man. Then he cooked it for the traveler who had come to him." 5 David burned with anger against the rich man. He said to Nathan, "The man who did that is worthy of death. And that's just as sure as the LORD is alive. 6 The man must pay back four times as much as that lamb was worth. How could he do such a thing? And he wasn't even sorry he had done it." 7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! The Lord, the God of Israel, says, 'I anointed you king over Israel. I saved you from Saul's powerful hand. 8 I gave you everything that belonged to your master Saul. I even put his wives into your arms. I made you king over the people of Israel and Judah. And if all of that had not been enough for you, I would have given you even more. 9 " 'Why did you turn your back on what I told you to do? You did what is evil in my sight. You made sure that Uriah, the Hittite, would be killed in battle. You took his wife to be your own. You let the men of Ammon kill him with their swords. 10 " 'So time after time members of your own royal house will be killed with swords. That's because you turned your back on me. You took the wife of Uriah, the Hittite, to be your own.' 11 "The LORD also says, 'I am going to bring trouble on you. It will come from your own family. I will take your wives away. Your own eyes will see it. I will give your wives to a man who is close to you. He will have sex with them in the middle of the day. 12 You committed your sins in secret. But I will make sure that the sin the man commits with your wives will take place in the middle of the day. Everyone in Israel will see it.' " 13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You aren't going to die. 14 But you have dared to make fun of the Lord. So the son who has been born to you will die." 15 Nathan went home. Then the LORD made the child that had been born to Uriah's wife by David very sick. 16 David begged God to heal the child. David didn't eat anything. He spent his nights lying on the ground. 17 His most trusted servants stood beside him. They wanted him to get up from the ground. But he refused to do it. And he wouldn't eat any food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him the child was dead. They thought, "While the child was still alive, we spoke to David. But he wouldn't listen to us. So how can we tell him the child is dead? He might do something terrible to himself." 19 David saw that his servants were whispering to each other. Then he realized the child was dead. "Has the child died?" he asked. "Yes," they replied. "He's dead." 20 Then David got up from the ground. After he washed himself, he put on lotions. He changed his clothes. He went into the house of the LORD and worshiped him. Then he went to his own house. He asked for some food. They served it to him. And he ate it. 21 His servants asked him, "Why are you acting like this? While the child was still alive, you wouldn't eat anything. You cried a lot. But now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!" 22 He answered, "While the child was still alive, I didn't eat anything. And I cried a lot. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD might show favor to me. He might let the child live.' 23 But now he's dead. So why should I go without eating? Can I bring him back to life again? Someday I'll go to him. But he won't return to me." 24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba. He went to her and made love to her. Some time later she had a son. He was given the name Solomon. The LORD loved him. 25 So the LORD sent a message through the prophet Nathan. It said, "Name the boy Jedidiah." 26 During that time, Joab fought against Rabbah. It was the royal city of the Ammonites. It had high walls around it. Joab was about to capture it. 27 He sent messengers to David. He told them to say, "I have fought against Rabbah. I've taken control of its water supply. 28 So bring the rest of the troops together. Surround the city and get ready to attack it. Then capture it. If you don't, I'll capture it myself. Then it will be named after me." 29 So David brought the whole army together and went to Rabbah. He attacked it and captured it. 30 He took the gold crown off the head of the king of Ammon. The crown weighed 75 pounds. It had jewels in it. It was placed on David's head. He took a huge amount of goods from the city. 31 He brought out the people who were there. He made them work with saws and iron picks and axes. He forced them to make bricks. He did that to all of the towns in Ammon. Then he and his entire army returned to Jerusalem.
1 Some time later, David's son Amnon fell in love with Tamar. She was the beautiful sister of Absalom. He was another one of David's sons. 2 Amnon's sister Tamar was a virgin. It seemed impossible for him to do what he wanted to do with her. But he wanted her so much it almost made him sick. 3 Amnon had a friend named Jonadab. He was the son of David's brother Shimeah. Jonadab was a very clever man. 4 He asked Amnon, "You are the king's son, aren't you? So why do you look so worn out every morning? Won't you tell me?" Amnon answered, "I'm in love with Tamar. She's the sister of my brother Absalom." 5 "Go to bed," Jonadab said. "Pretend to be sick. Your father will come to see you. When he does, tell him, 'I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food right here in front of me where I can watch her. Then she can feed it to me.' " 6 So Amnon went to bed. He pretended to be sick. The king came to see him. Amnon said to him, "I would like my sister Tamar to come here. I want to watch her make some special bread. Then she can feed it to me." 7 David sent a message to Tamar at the palace. It said, "Go to your brother Amnon's house. Prepare some food for him." 8 So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon. He was lying in bed. She got some dough and mixed it. She shaped the bread right there in front of him. And she baked it. 9 Then she took the bread out of the pan and served it to him. But he refused to eat it. "Send everyone out of here," Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10 Then he said to Tamar, "Bring the food here into my bedroom. Please feed it to me." So Tamar picked up the bread she had prepared. She brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 She took it to him so he could eat it. But he grabbed hold of her. He said, "My sister, come and have sex with me." 12 "Don't do this, my brother!" she said to him. "Don't force me to have sex with you. An evil thing like that should never be done in Israel! Don't do it! 13 What about me? How could I ever get rid of my shame? And what about you? You would be as foolish as any evil person in Israel. Please speak to the king. He won't keep me from getting married to you." 14 But Amnon refused to listen to her. He was stronger than she was. So he raped her. 15 Then Amnon was filled with deep hatred for Tamar. In fact, he hated her now more than he had loved her before. He said to her, "Get up! Get out!" 16 "No!" she said to him. "Don't send me away. That would be worse than what you have already done to me." But he refused to listen to her. 17 He sent for his personal servant. He said, "Get this woman out of here. Lock the door behind her." 18 So his servant threw her out. Then he locked the door behind her. Tamar was wearing a beautiful robe. It was the kind of robe the virgin daughters of the king wore. 19 She put ashes on her head. She tore the beautiful robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away. She was sobbing out loud as she went. 20 When her brother Absalom saw her, he spoke to her. He said, "Has Amnon, that brother of yours, forced you to have sex with him? My sister, don't let it upset you. Don't let it bother you. He's your brother." After that, Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's house. She was very lonely. 21 King David heard about everything that had happened. So he became very angry. 22 Absalom never said a word of any kind to Amnon. He hated Amnon because he had brought shame on his sister Tamar. 23 Two years later, Absalom invited all of the king's sons to come to Baal Hazor. It was near the border of Ephraim. The workers who clipped the wool off Absalom's sheep were there. 24 Absalom went to the king. He said, "I've had my workers come to clip the wool. Will you and your officials please join me?" 25 "No, my son," the king replied. "All of us shouldn't go. It would be too much trouble for you." Although Absalom begged him, the king still refused to go. But he gave Absalom his blessing. 26 Then Absalom said, "If you won't come, please let my brother Amnon come with us." The king asked him, "Why should he go with you?" 27 But Absalom begged him. So the king sent Amnon with him. He also sent the rest of his sons. 28 Absalom ordered his men, "Listen! When Amnon has had too much wine to drink, I'll say to you, 'Strike Amnon down.' When I do, kill him. Don't be afraid. I've given you an order, haven't I? Be strong and brave." 29 So Absalom's men killed Amnon, just as Absalom had ordered. Then all of the king's sons got on their mules and rode away. 30 While they were on their way, a report came to David. It said, "Absalom has struck down all of your sons. Not one of them is left alive." 31 The king stood up and tore his clothes. Then he lay down on the ground. All of his servants stood near him. They had also torn their clothes. 32 Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah, spoke up. He said, "You shouldn't think that all of the princes have been killed. The only one who is dead is Amnon. Absalom had planned to kill him ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33 You are my king and master. You shouldn't be concerned about this report. It's not true that all of your sons are dead. The only one who is dead is Amnon." 34 While all of that was taking place, Absalom ran away. The man on guard duty at Jerusalem looked up. He saw many people coming on the road west of him. They were coming down the side of the hill. He went and spoke to the king. He said, "I see men coming down the road from Horonaim. They are coming down the side of the hill." 35 Jonadab said to the king, "See, your sons are coming. It has happened just as I said it would." 36 As he finished speaking, the king's sons came in. They were sobbing out loud. The king and all of his servants were also sobbing very bitterly. 37 When Absalom ran away, he went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud. Talmai was king of Geshur. King David sobbed over his son every day. 38 So Absalom ran away and went to Geshur. He stayed there for three years. 39 After some time the king got over his sorrow because of Amnon's death. Then he longed to go to Absalom.
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